11.04.2010

Bring Your 'A' Game film sheds light on the resilience and influence of Black males


Nearly two weeks ago I received a personal email from famed actress and producer Karen Williams regarding a 22-minute film titled BRING YOUR 'A' GAME.

According to Ms Williams in her email this is an "award winning documentary short film featuring an "A" list of Black men providing insights and success strategies for a target audience of Black males most at risk for dropping out of high school. I hope "A" Game is a useful tool for you to Tweet and/or share with your constituents, to further engage young brothers in the kinds of conversations that your work triggers."

To generate a national conversation on the plight of Black men and boys, the Twenty-First Century Foundation (21CF) has partnered with actor–director Mario Van Peebles and Ms. Williams to create BRING YOUR 'A' GAME — a groundbreaking documentary film that, in Van Peebles’ words, “sheds light on the resilience and influence of Black males.” BRING YOUR 'A' GAME is a film that will use screenings accompanied by community discussions as a catalyst to transform the lives of urban youth. Using a cinematic style influenced by popular culture and employing innovative technologies, the film details strategies that have improved the lives of Black men and boys. It underscores how essential educational achievement and high school graduation are to survival and success in today’s world.

Interviewees include such Black male icons as Richard “Dick” Parsons, Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Dr. Cornel West, Ice Cube, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles, Lou Gossett Jr., Lupe Fiasco, Hill Harper, Damon Dash, Kevin Powell, Melvin Van Peebles, Geoffrey Canada, Bruce Gordon and former NBA star Alan Houston, among others.

"With national attention focused on the U.S. education crisis, I hope audiences see Bring Your “A” Game as a message of love, understanding, insight and inspiration to young urban males from people who are deeply invested in their success. I also hope that audiences will feel motivated to share and discuss “A” Game with their families, in schools, community programs, churches, mosques, detention centers and the like," said Ms. Williams in an interview with indieWire.

"Mario often says if we want to hide something from young people, we just have to put it in a book or a documentary. We kept this in mind and deliberately incorporated gaming and music video aesthetics, both of which are especially popular with young urban males," she said.

Although this filmed aired exclusively on BET in 2009, I had never heard of it until now. I watched the film twice and I enjoyed it throughly. I told Ms. Williams I would share it. Please view and it let me know what you think. You can also leave a comment on the SnagFilms site @ BRING YOUR 'A' GAME.



I also thank Ms. Williams for telling me, "Thanks for the incredible work that you do on behalf of the Black community. I can’t thank you enough for drawing attention to the critical concerns of Black males and continuing to focus public attention on these concerns through your activism, engagement with youth and vis-à-vis your Brother Jesse blog."

(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter or "LIKE" his Facebook page)

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